Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Bug-Man came to school.


No we don't have a pest problem. Well, yes, the teenagers obviously.

When I arrived at the Knowledge College there was a van in the carpark with "Bug Man" graphics. He was being greeted by a science teacher. Now what with me being perceptive I was able to work out that this would be some sort of demonstration and I was very intrigued by the large red boxes they were carrying into school. They were parked temporarily in the main office and the five ladies who work there were not entirely happy about the arrangement.

I had a full teaching day so put it out of my head until William came with a sticker in his planner saying that he was expected to visit the Bug Man during that period (when he should have been with me). William is a nice boy and I know he will catch up, so I gave permission.

This went on all day - just two or three kids per lesson and always the best behaved, so it was clearly a reward. At the end of the day I decided to go and take a look, failing to encourage Sophie, the daughter of a colleague, to come with me.
"Oh no. I don't do insects."

Mrs. B's science room is nice and welcoming and the fist thing I noticed was a colleague wearing a rather nice and very big lizard, complete with ruff - the lizard not the colleague. It was perfectly content and seemed to be enjoying the attention. I was drawn to the tarantula. I have never been close to one before and always assumed I would have the eebie-jeebies if I did. No. It was love at first sight on both sides. She was beautiful and she was very happy to be handled. I was smitten. I was quite taken with the big black scorpions too: not things of beauty by any means, but again docile and content to be handled. Apparently the big black ones are not aggressive - unless you happen to be an insect. I could never in my wildest dreams have imagined lifting one out of the box and holding it in my hand but I did. They sort of felt like vulcanised rubber.

"No. It's the little sand coloured ones you need to watch out for. They do sting." said the Bug Man pointing at a couple in a box. South - East Asian milipedes are a strange species. Absolutely huge and looking like a thick piece of licorice, their legs tickle. I was quite charmed.

"The praying mantis lives on the lampshade in our kitchen" he said. It never moves from there and it eats all the insects that flutter around the light." Must give guests a nasty turn.

The two-foot stick insect was, frankly, a disappointment. I don't think they have much in the way of brain matter.

Then came the snake. Don't ask me its species. It wasn't poisonous and was very long. It likes people - not in a dietry way. My friend Dave the caretaker decided to face his fears and wear it as a necklace - suited him. I had the idea that he should nonchalently walk down the corridor wearing it to gauge the reaction of passers by but as he had broken into a sweat by that point we decided not.

After he'd had a little sit down he went about his caretakerly duties.

We had a parents' evening later. William came to see me. There was no conversation about Religious Studies but a lot of chat about spiders.